Is Sambucky Canon or Not?
TL;DR: Yes, it is
I've seen some people saying that they only see friendship between Sam and Bucky, and I can understand that. Because depending on your education, the environment you grew up and the kind of media you’re usually exposed to, you will have a different interpretation of different situations, in real life or in TV.
Just let me insert a short story before I dive into the Sambucky topic:
My best friend's uncle is in his fifties and has been living with his roommate (a man) for more than 10 years. They lived together, went on holidays together but officially were just roommates. My best friend wondered if they were a couple, but never talked about it to her parents because it wasn't her business.
Two years ago, they decided to come out and get married. My best friend's parents and his parents were genuinely surprised, they were not expecting that, at all, not even a little bit. Let me tell you that it didn’t even cross their mind that it was a possibility, at all.
For them, it had always just been two men who had decided to live together because they were single. And preferred to have a roommate rather than living alone.
What I want to say with this story is that people will see what they want to see, or what they're used to see, or what they were raised to see. It’s human.
What I mean is that you will have different perception of a same event, depending on your own circumstances. And I think the writers of TFATWS were counting on that a little bit when it came to Sam and Bucky’s relationship. They obviously didn't want to make some big announcement or big love declaration.
And yes, of course, I have my own circumstances as well, influencing the way I see things.
I have shipped SamBucky since Civil War, when they were supposedly enemies. I never expected anything to happen between them on screen. But then they got a show together and I was so so happy about it but I didn't expect anything other than friendship between them.
I was perfectly fine with that because a show was already more than enough: my man Sam Wilson was becoming Captain America, the show was great, the characters were great, their interactions were great, and this wasn't a love story anyway but a superhero show. I thought that here was no way the showrunners would ever go there.
I changed my mind after episode 5. I tried to stay objective, but it was clear to me that the writers were hinting at a relationship that went beyond friendship between Sam and Bucky.
In some of my previous posts, I explained that there are some scenes and writing choices that make absolutely no sense if you read them as a scene between two friends. I can link them if anyone’s interested.
Side note: I would like to know if one person on this website can tell me what was up with Bucky's behavior with Torres (in episode 5)? What other explanation is there, if not jealousy? It's a scene they chose to keep, so it was probably written this way, there must be a reason. Please I’m begging someone explain it to me. I'm genuinely asking, because otherwise that scene alone is canon Sambucky.
After episode 5, I was convinced they would make Sambucky canon, one way or the other and I started speculating about the ways they could do it.
What I said was that if they did make Sambucky canon, they would do it in a very subtle way, in order not to make it too obvious because that’s generally how Marvel movies deal with love stories. And also because they wouldn’t want to scare away their homophobic audience ( I guess Disney needs their money...who knows)
So here are the scenes of how I imagined SamBucky becoming canon and the comparison with reality:
- What I thought we could get : AJ and Cass calling Bucky "Uncle Bucky"
- What we got: AJ and Cass running up to Bucky and playing with him.
This point is interesting because it’s also related to the point I made about how the environment you grew up in influences your perception of things. I grew up in a big family and I know that, at least in my family, kids don't run up to an adult like that just because it's their uncle’s friend or just because he's nice... There's a real bond there. They haven't seen Bucky just that one time when he slept on the couch. They're obviously close. But some people might just see this as kids being kids. Also, if you watch at how the kids were fake punching him, they were really coordinated with Bucky. They have done this plenty of times.
What I thought we could see: A non-explicit scene where we were supposed to draw our own conclusions. I thought they could show us Bucky staying over for the night, and the last scene would be an empty couch, meaning we would have to understand that Bucky slept in Sam's room this time.
-What we got: Bucky arriving in Sam's car ( A few people on Tumblr pointed out that it was the car Sam was driving in episode 1)
So here again we have a scene that a lot of people will not notice. But they still chose to put it there.
What I thought could happen: Sam asking Bucky to stay in Delacroix
What we got: Bucky wrapping things up in New York, as if he was leaving the city for good and coming to Sam's party as if he already knew everyone there. You can read my take on this here.
What I thought could happen: The scene in the trailer where we see them looking in the same direction and then we get a shot from very far away where they're holding hands but it’s not so obvious because they are being filmed from a disctance.
-What we got: The scene in trailer and then a blurry shot of Sam holding Bucky and then fondling with his neck to find the best spot to rest his hand on.
So none of the scenes I was imagining happened exactly like I had imagined, but it felt like all of them happened but in a different versions, which is still crazy to me.
If it had been only one scene. I could probably understand the people who see them as just friends. Actually, I still do understand the people who see them as just friends, because everyone has their own interpretation. What I am saying is that they are NOT being portrayed as just friends.
There are TOO many scenes in the 6 episodes for it to be a coincidence. One or 2 would be ok but friendship doesn’t explain everything:
The therapy scene (not the therapy scene itself since it was improvised) but the therapist saying she had heard a lot about Sam and wanting them to do a couples’ therapy
Bucky following Sam no matter what
Sam saying ok as soon as Bucky says "do it for me"
Sam asking "what about Bucky?"
Bucky starting to touch Sam whenever he has the chance
Bucky being the one to bringing the suit for Sam
The boat repairing montage
Bucky wanting to stay at Sam's place, when a hotel room would have been more comfortable than a couch
The second day of boat repair in closed quarters with an intense staring scene.
And there are so many other scenes, soft touches, looks,...
These writing choices are not a coincidence, it’s not involuntary, and it’s not fan service ( Fan service is the roll in the flower field scene, or the therapy session). This is them telling a story.
Let’s not even talk about the scenes in Endgame:
Sam comforting bucky at Tony’s funeral
Sam looking up to Bucky for approval before accepting the shield from Steve.
So yes, Sam and Bucky are canon in the sense that Peter and Gamora were canon in the first movie, or Wanda and Vision were canon in Captain Civil War. Meaning that there was no big moment, kiss or anything, but the show is consistently throwing elements clearly showing Sam and Bucky as a romantic item and hinting at a lot more than friendship between them.
It is normal that some people have a different opinion. Because it is extremely rare, in big productions like this to have two male leads with romantic feelings towards each other, so not a lot people who see it will interpret it as such (I don't think it ever happened). You’ll see what you’re used to seeing.
I guess it also depends on what you expect from a love story. For me, the storyline between the characters, their scenes, their chemistry, the way their feelings towards each other are described, are the most important. The kiss scene is just there as a bonus, but I don't need it when the love story is told perfectly. If you’re used to seeing love stories with many kissing scenes, that’s what you will be expecting to see in most love stories.
If you're only used to seeing male friendships in superhero or action movies. The 1000th time you see men interacting in that type of movie or show, you are more likely to assume it is a friendship and nothing more, no matter how many codes and tropes usually associated with romantic movies, the writers and show makers are using.
Add to that the conviction that Disney would never approve Sambucky in a million years, and there you go, I can understand the people who see only friendship.
But, just think about it, if we had the same show, same scenes, same dialogues, but minus the action scenes and the project was being marketed as an Indie movie, would you think they were just friends or a blossoming couple?
If you read Sambucky’s relationship like a friendship: some scenes don't make sense. If you read it like a developing romantic relationship: it all makes sense.
"When you hear hoofs, think horse, not zebra"
If a writer or a film director chooses a last scene with a romantic setting and the two leads are staring at a sunset, smiling repeatedly at each other and then walking away together with one of them touching the other's neck, with a love song in the background, maybe friendship isn't the first thought they had in mind.
Some people may say “I see them as just friends” and other people may say “ I see them as lovers” and both are fine, because people have different perceptions, and that’s ok.
What I am saying is this post is that the show and the writers are portraying them as more than just friends, they’re portraying them as two characters who are romantically involved.
Perceive what you want but that’s how they are being presented in the show.
Bucky’s therapist said that the exercise she gave them was for couples who want to figure out what kind of life they want to build together. Then, the show ends with Sam and Bucky, staring at a sunset together, looking in the same direction.
“Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction. “ - Antoine de Saint-Exupery
What else do you need???
This show had more romance than half of the Marvel projects out there. Not every love story needs a kiss (for now...)
We'll see in their next projects which direction the writers want to go with this. But since it was said that the writer on the movie is the same as the writer from episode 5, there's no doubt in my mind that we'll keep seeing this dynamic.
I don't think they would have made the same choices if this had been a movie. But I won't complain that we got this.
I hope they keep this going even if it stays subtle like in the show. Just hope they will add one explicit scene where one of the characters acknowledges their relationship. But even if we only ever get this show, it’s already a great love story.
Let me know what you guys think and sorry for the typos and grammar mistakes, I was tired when I wrote the last part. I hope it still makes sense!
If you think they're only being portrayed as friends let me know why! I would also like to know about the way you see this!
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